Manhattan Beach is having a rich city problem: the city is getting so wealthy that only chains, banks, and real estate agents can afford to operate out of downtown storefronts, according to the Daily Breeze. The city council approved an urgency zoning ordinance last week that prohibits banks and offices from moving into downtown's groundfloor spaces for the next 45 days; they want time for a yet-to-be-hired consultant to figure out the best way to preserve Manhattan's mom-and-pop shops, while allowing certain chains to operate and maintaining a healthy mix of restaurant, retail, and office uses along MB's increasingly-gilded streets. Local retailers are heralding the ordinance, which could be extended, but some real estate agents think they're being unfairly targeted, and that messing with the free market is a dangerous precedent.
Some similar retail drama is playing out in Westwood, where a neighborhood group convinced the city to yank the restaurant permits for an under-construction mixed-user at the former Mann Theater, saying they want (and were promised) non-food retail. Many in the group feel strongly that the area has too many quick-service restaurants, even for a place filled with thrifty college students and busy office workers. The developer says their claims are crap and is suing the city for rescinding approvals; meanwhile, the groundfloor space will sit empty—the last thing Westwood needs—while this drags on.
· Manhattan Beach struggling with identity as chains replace mom-and-pop shops [Daily Breeze]